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About us

Plastics is the third most produced material globally after steel and concrete. Whilst it remains irreplaceable for many applications and has a vital role to play in meeting societal needs, we share society’s concerns about the contribution of our industry to climate change and the challenge of plastics waste.

Plastics Europe and its members are committed to addressing the concerns about plastics and to be part of the solution to enabling a sustainable future. We have a vision to transition the European plastics system by making plastics circular, helping drive lifecycle emissions to net zero (with circularity a key pathway to doing so), and fostering the sustainable use of plastics.

Why Brigid

Plastics can break down into tiny particles called microplastics, less than 5mm in size. These are found in all environments including living organisms such as plants, animals, and people. Because the potential risks to human health from microplastic exposure are uncertain to date, there is increasing societal concern as to their effects. The media and policymakers are urging more research and precautionary measures.

Understanding the potential risks of microplastic exposure is complex. Knowledge gaps include how much exposure people face, how microplastics move in the body, and their potential health effects.

Filling these gaps with reliable data is crucial for informed decisions and predicting potential health issues.

Research on microplastics’ potential risks is growing, with some studies suggesting links to health effects. However, many studies use unrealistic conditions such as testing materials that do not look like real world microplastics. Investing in research on microplastics is vital to address gaps and find solutions. Brigid is a demonstration of industry’s commitment to being part of the solution and contributing to bridging the knowledge gap.

What is Brigid

Brigid is a large-scale, research project spanning five years. Its primary goal is to understand the potential risks to human health associated with exposure to microplastics through ingestion, which is considered to be a major pathway along with inhalation. To achieve this goal, the project will create secondary microplastics using materials from our members’ commercial products. Some of these microplastics will be labeled for tracking inside living organisms.

The research will focus on determining the extent of microplastic ingestion and tracking their movement within the body. Simultaneously, the project will assess potential toxicity, starting from simple cell systems and progressing to animal models. The data obtained from these investigations will be used to develop a risk assessment model. 

This model will provide insights into the potential effects of microplastics when ingested at realistic doses, helping us better understand whether there are potential impacts on human health.

To deliver results that reflect a realistic exposure scenario, Brigid will focus on secondary MPs of seven different polymer types: polyethylene (both linear low density & low/high density), polypropylene, polystyrene, (rigid) poly(vinyl chloride), polycarbonate, polyamide-6, and polyethylene terephthalate. In the absence of real-world exposure data, these polymer types – amongst those in our members’ portfolios – are assumed to be representative of what the average person potentially encounters most often during their daily life.

Brigid structure

The structure of Brigid is divided in six interconnected Working Packages (WPs):

Click on the pins to read more about the Working Packages.

Supported by Plastics Europe

Brigid stands under Plastics Europe’s Sustainable Use of Plastics Strategic Council, led by Piet Vermeersch. Committed to advocating for responsible plastic industry practices, he joined the team in May 2023. As Sustainability Director at Plastics Europe, Piet covers topics such as food contact, drinking water, REACH and overall safety and human health topics linked to the use phase of plastics.

Plastics Europe also collaborates closely with the scientific community to better understand the impact of microplastics. That is why we have one of our scientists leading the Brigid project.

Camilla Carteny brings valuable expertise from academia, where she worked on various international scientific research projects related to microplastics for four years. In her role as Technical Project Manager, she successfully launched the Brigid project and has represented it at scientific conferences and events.

Passionate about reducing microplastic emissions in the environment, she actively engages with stakeholders to develop impactful solutions, contributing to Plastics Europe’s Roadmap for Sustainability.


Consortium partners

Associated partners

Service providers

Advisory board

Korinna Altmann

Korinna Altmann

German Federal Institute for Material Research and Testing (BAM)
Alan Boobis

Alan Boobis

Imperial College London
Richard Cronin

Richard Cronin

Irish Government
Andreas Greiner

Andreas Greiner

University of Bayreuth

Sabine Pahl

University of Vienna

Frank Pierik

The Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development (ZonMw)
Carmen Rubio

Carmen Rubio Armendariz

University of La Laguna
Stephanie Wright

Stephanie Wright

Imperial College London
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David Merino Fernández

Spanish Agency for the Food and Nutrition Safety (AESAN)


We have been active on the global level to activate microplastic research and coordinate between national and international projects. Brigid is part of the International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA) Microplastics Advanced Research Industry Initiative (MARII) initiative. MARII is a platform promoting the global sharing of information on microplastics research and related events. It serves as a roundtable, uniting scientists worldwide from industry, academia, and research institutions. MARII facilitates the exchange of current research, emerging methods, and technologies, convening meetings to collectively assess initiatives, fostering collaboration, and pooling resources to inform the risk assessment of microplastics. 

Although Plastics Europe does not directly advocate for the interests of polyethylene terephthalate (PET) producers, many of its members are also involved in PET production. Given PET’s widespread use in high-volume applications such as bottles and containers, its inclusion in Brigid was essential. To facilitate this, we partnered with PETCORE Europe, a Brussels-based trade association representing the PET value chain. This collaboration ensured the successful integration of PET as a testing material in selected Brigid tasks.